The History of Surrealism
Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2000 - 351 pagina's
"I believe," André Breton said, "in the future resolution of the states of dream and reality--in appearance so contradictory--in a sort of absolute reality, or surréalité." The Surrealist movement, born in the 1920s out of the ferment of Dada, committed to revolution against bourgeois rationalism, and inspired by Freudian exploration of the unconscious, has reverberated more widely and deeply than perhaps any other art movement in our century. Its automatism, biomorphic shapes, visionary mode, and manipulation of found objects mark the work of artists as different as Ernst, Miró, Magritte, and Dali.
Maurice Nadeau's History of Surrealism, first published in French in 1944 and in English in 1965, has become a classic. It is both lucid and authoritative--by far the best overall account of this complex movement. Nadeau traces the evolution of Surrealism, bringing to life its many internal debates about politics and art. He relates the movement to its intellectual and artistic environment. And he provides the statements and manifestos of Breton, Aragon, Tzara, and others.
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In addition appeared a text by Antonin Artaud (vilified by the group and Breton in
particular a few years earlier) with this curious note: There will be no lack of good
souls indignant at seeing on the title page of this issue the names of Antonin ...
Expulsions followed: Artaud, Soupault, Vitrac; Desnos gradually withdrew;
Naville broke off relations. The collaboration with Clarté came to an end. The
Communist Party gave its new adepts blacker and blacker looks. It was the end of
These individuals were expelled surrealists like Artaud and Vitrac, or those
momentarily on distant terms with the movement like Boiffard, Gérard, Leiris,
Limbour, Masson, Souris, Tual; editors of Clarté like Altman, Guitard, Morhange,
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